Islam remark costs pastor

A Pompano Beach clergyman’s comments about Islam has cost him a post on Broward’s Judicial Nominating Commission.

Following some controversial remarks on radio about Muslims, the Rev. O’Neal Dozier, a Gov. Jeb Bush appointee, resigned from a panel responsible for nominating judges in Broward County.

Dozier said Monday he was asked to step down from the nine-member Judicial Nominating Commission after he characterized Islam as a ”cult” on a radio show.

Dozier, pastor of the World Wide Christian Center Church in Pompano Beach, also called Islam ”a dangerous religion” Friday on the The Steve Kane Radio Show.

Dozier took to the airwaves to talk about why he and a group of Pompano Beach ministers didn’t want a mosque built in the community.

His comments were first reported on an Internet blog written by Bob Norman, a columnist for New Times Broward-Palm Beach.

”Following the comments the reverend made, our general counsel’s office reached out to the reverend and expressed the governor’s concerns and subsequently accepted the reverend’s resignation,” Kristy Campbell, Bush’s deputy press secretary, said Monday.

Bush appointed Dozier, 57, to the panel in 2001.

Dozier said he didn’t want to resign.

”A recent event related to my work, which I have been called by God to perform, appears to have offended a few, while others have chosen to use this issue to further their agendas of political correctness,” Dozier wrote in his resignation letter.

His ”personal view as a pastor” shouldn’t be tied to Gov. Bush, he said.


”I am entitled to my views and opinions and they do not reflect the governor’s views,” said Dozier, who plans to lead a 6 p.m. protest today at Pompano Beach City Hall.

The group of black ministers contend that the mosque will jeopardize residents’ safety because the nation has been at war with Islam since 9/11. Dozier said they are concerned that the community could become a breeding ground for terrorists and that Muslims will convert blacks to Islam, making them “hateful toward the white man and . . . the American way of life.”

After Dozier’s comments last Friday, Bush quickly distanced himself. ”Gov. Bush in no way shares Rev. Dozier’s views on Islam,” Bush spokeswoman Alia Faraj said at the time.

Campbell said the governor will appoint a replacement to serve out Dozier’s term, which expires July 1, 2007. He was the lone black member on the commission.

On Monday, Dozier said: “I work for the Lord. I have always worked for the Lord.”

Some Muslim leaders said they were concerned the dozen black ministers’ stance would strain the harmonious relations blacks and Muslims have built over the years.

Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout, director of the American Muslim Association of North America, said his group wants to work with Dozier and other ministers to help them understand Islam.

Naomi Parker, a Broward human rights activist, said she senses fear and anger from the ministers.

”I would really like to see members of all these churches come together to address crime, to address poverty, to address AIDS,” Parker said.

“There are a number of issues that take precedent over religious conversion.”

The Islamic Center’s current mosque has been in a predominantly white section of the city for 22 years. Two years ago, the center bought about five acres of land surrounded by warehouses, a few homes and run-down rentals. The group received zoning change approval in May.

A homeowner objected, bringing the case before the City Commission in June. The ministers, led by Dozier, got involved, saying they’d rather see housing built on the land.

But commissioners decided not to hear the appeal because of a technicality — the applicant did not bring a verbatim transcript from a court reporter to the hearing.

More than 100 residents from the community packed a meeting, but many left angered at what they felt was an unfair ruling from City Hall.

Despite Dozier’s controversial remarks, which some feel have overshadowed their real concerns, many pastors in the group say their battle is with City Hall.


They say the city’s zoning board did not show a need for the mosque to be built in the northwest section of Pompano Beach.

Also, the zoning board did not prove whether the mosque wouldn’t ”adversely affect the health, safety, security” of the community, as required by code.

But it appears the ministers may be forced to take their fight beyond City Hall.

”We do not have any established city procedures for further review of this matter,” city spokeswoman Sandra King told The Miami Herald last week.

Meanwhile, Dozier’s resignation has not diminished his admiration for Bush, he said.

”I still love the governor,” Dozier said.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Miami Herald, USA
July 11, 200
Darran Simon

Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday July 11, 2006.
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